To Heal the Scars
Chapter 7: Save Me San Francisco
Skylar walked through the double-door entrance to the West Coat Institute located in San Francisco, California. This Institute was the place of her childhood, and despite being orphaned at the young age of ten, Skylar had fond memories of this place.
The San Francisco Institute was located in the busy tourist-y place of Pier 39. It was the perfect place to be, crowded enough so Mundanes didn't notice anything odd going on, and in the center of commotion where demons liked to lurk. The grand San Fran Institute, although smaller than the ones located in London and New York and Shanghai (which were among the main Institutes), was located right on the pier, but disguised as a completely boring shop that no one ever ventured into…unless they themselves were Shadowhunters.
Skylar was greeted by the sight of her uncle Henri, who in the past couple of months has healed completely from all physical injuries obtained in the battle not that long ago. He grinned at his niece.
"Skylar," he said her name warmly, pulling her into a hug. Skylar smiled and returned the embrace.
Pulling away, Henri made a show of looking over her shoulder. "Where's that boy, your conjoined-at-the-hip other half," Henri said with a wave of his hand, although he very well knew Aiden's name.
"He had to go to Lisbon-"
"Aha, so he lied to me! He said he'd always be at your side so I didn't have to worry-"
"Uncle, it's okay, his parents summoned him and I told him I was able to come here on my own-"
"Can't trust those teenage boys these days. When I was your age-"
"Uncle, you're only 39-"
Henri suddenly gripped Skylar's shoulders, his penetrating gaze bearing into her grey-blue stare that she received from her Welsh grandmother. "Skylar Naveen Ravenscar, you tell me right now, did that boy make damaged goods out of you?"
"Uncle, stop it!" Skylar wrenched away from her uncle, but found herself forcing back a smile anyway. Same old Uncle Henri, hating on anything that was a heterosexual male within a ten-mile radius, with an exception to his son, Skylar's older cousin. "No, I am not "damaged goods"," Sky said, creating air quotes with her fingers. "Besides, even if I was, we have bigger fish to fry. Wait, you made someone 'damaged goods' when they were seventeen?"
"You are very right, niece, it seems that New York suited you well," Henri said, quickly changing moods from light-hearted to serious.
"Who's damaged goods? Not Skylar, little miss "I'll castrate anyone who thinks I'm beautiful"?"
Skylar and Henri turned and looked toward the entrance of the sitting room they were in. At the doorway stood two young Shadowhunters, both slightly bit older than Skylar; they were Henri's children Maria and Jesse, fraternal twins.
It was Maria who spoke. Both, like Henri, were tall, and had brown hair, although Maria's was light. Both she and Jesse had inherited the Ravenscar natural tan skin and infamous "scratch" birthmark as well as their mother's hazel eyes.
"I never said that," Skylar said, blushing at Maria's claim. "I just don't like creeper stares no matter if they're Shadowhunter, Mundane, or Downworlder."
"Sure, change the story," Maria said with a wink. Maria's birthmark was located horizontally on her left cheekbone, thin inch-long marks that were a couple shades lighter than her own skin. Instead of taking away from her prettiness, it added to it, giving her whimsical expression a hint of ferocity that she wore well.
Jesse, although tall like his father and sister had a slightly more muscular build, and inherited his mother's more gentle and quieter approach to life, often making him the voice of reason in comparison to Henri's and Maria's unpredictable moods. He leaned against a wall with his arms folded over his chest, his birthmark showing on his right forearm amidst all the silvery scars and several Runes.
"Sky," he said in a clam voice, silencing all three of his family members. "What do you need to talk to us about?" Skylar turned to him, seeing concern in his gentle hazel eyes. Despite his placid manner and handsome features, he was one of the deadliest Shadowhunters she knew.
Skylar let out a sigh, knowing her news would not be easy. She touched Uncle Henri's arm. "Let's move to your office," she suggested to everyone who followed her. There were 5 young Shadowhunters in training at the Institute, and she did not want them to overhear her news.
An hour later, the four family members remained in silence in Henri's office. Henri sat at his large oak desk with his elbows resting on the surface as he closed his eyes. Jesse stood near the mantle that had a small fire going, but his eyes weren't focused on the flickering flames. He was focused on the picture of his mother who had died in battle when he and Maria were ten. Maria sat beside Skylar on the couch, for once, even she left her light-hearted ways to the gravity of this matter.
"You're certain that the demon wasn't lying," Uncle Henri asked again. He, like all others in the Ravenscar clan possessed uncanny ability to discern truths from lies with just a glance at the face. Some had keener abilities than others, but he never doubted Skylar's.
"Yes," replied Skylar.
"How can that be," Maria asked from beside her cousin, shaking her head. She looked up at Jesse's form even though she addressed everyone. "It has to be a lie! Not that you're lying, Skylar, but that demon!"
Jesse turned to face his family, he nodded. "We were all there in Idris," he continued. "Valentine died, and his bastard son was pronounced dead as well. There's no way there can be another 'true heir' out there."
"This is all true," Henri said from the desk. "How can there be another heir? I will inform the Clave immediately, of course, but for now, it is best to remain prepared."
"As if we stopped," Maria said with a sniff. "Not everyone has recovered from the war. It's only been 3 months." She and Jesse had just turned 18 and were able to fight in the great battle. Despite having killed demons before, the bloodshed that she encountered still gave her nightmares. It was too much.
Henri sighed deeply and leaned back in his chair. "I will leave immediately," he said, rubbing his temples. Sitting up, he looked at Jesse. "You are in charge while I'm away. See to it that the others continue to train, but don't tell them of this news yet."
Henri sprang from his chair and left the office to pack a bag before leaving. Skylar collapsed backward against the couch with a heavy sigh. She closed her eyes momentarily.
"Well, there's only one thing to do in a time like this," Maria said, jumping to her feet. Skylar opened her eyes and raised an eyebrow at her cousin.
"And what is that?"
"We slay some demons." Maria gave Skylar a ferocious grin. "Lately there's been a lot of activity near the Gate's park," Maria explained. In her mind's eye Skylar imagined standing on one of the numerous cliffs that lined the coast, and in the distance she saw the Golden Gate Bridge.
Skylar smiled lightly. "I'll meet you back in here in half an hour?"
"Am I not allowed to go?"
Skylar and Maria had jumped into action and they forgot Jesse brooding by the fireplace. He wore a look of mock abandonment.
"Nope. Girl's trip," Maria said.
"What kind of girl wants to slay demons during female bonding time?"
"The kind that was raised to be a Shadowhunter," Maria shot back, shrugging her shoulder. "Besides, you're in charge of the Institute for now, you need to stay back." She then stuck her tongue out at her brother before running away to her room.
Skylar went up to her old bedroom, opening the door carefully. The room had not changed since she left it. She had cleaned up the things that she did not take with her and put them in the closet. All that was left in her room was a bed and bare tan walls. On the bed there was a chestnut box. Walking over to it, Skylar saw there was a note folded nicely atop the box. The box was rectangular and about a foot long. Lifting the paper from the top of the box, Skylar unfolded the note. At a glance she knew it was her Uncle's handwriting.
Dear Skylar Naveen,
Your mother and father entrusted these to me. I was to wait for the right time in which these will be passed along to you. At first, I thought I'd wait until you were 18. Then as you grew older along with Maria and Jesse I decided I'd wait until you were married with kids, but that wouldn't have been fair to you...and your mother would smite me from heaven, and then I'd have to answer to your father. Since you have moved on and are growing older, I have decided that now is as good of a time as are ready, my dear niece. Use them well.
P.s. Nisroc and Uzziel
Skylar smiled at the n ote. It was typical of Uncle Henri to leave her feeling a mixture of affection and amusement. Setting aside the note, Skylar looked down at the chestnut box. The lid of the box was inscribed in a beautiful font that read "Ravenscar" and at the end of the name were three small "scratches", just like the family birthmark. Skylar held her breath as she lifted the lid of the box. Nestled into purple velvet were two blunt hilts with little design, although they could be easily told apart. Picking them up carefully, Skylar examined each seraph blade. She had used seraphs in the past, but she never really owned one. Now she had two. Two that belonged to her parents.
Carefully holding a seraph in each hand, Skylar breathed the names of the swords. Both lit up in her hand, humming gently. Both cast fine lights. Immediately, Skylar knew these swords were different from the others. Not only were the angles the seraphs were named after present with her, so was the memory of her parents. A lump caught in Skylar's throat as she fought back tears. Quickly bidding the seraphs back to sleep, Skylar got ready to meet Maria downstairs.
Hours later, Maria and Skylar stood in a field of blood and guts. Maria bent to wipe her sword free of blood and Skylar turned off the Seraph. She turned to Maria who was walking away from the bodies that started to dissolve.
"Well, they knew nothing," said Maria with a shrug. "If anything they were good for relieving aggression."
Skylar rolled her eyes as Maria started to walk away. Maria and Skylar were near a cliff. Maria had walked toward the edge and looked to the distance. Not far off, light from the Golden Gate Bridge illuminated the night sky and reached them so there was a gentle glow for them to see.
Maria placed a hand on her hip and turned to Skylar who had joined her. "So," she said. "Now that that's done with for now, time to talk."
"About what? Maria, I thought it was Uncle Henri's job to tell you where babies come from."
"If I remember correctly, I was the one who told you."
"Ah yes, you did. You stole my eight year old innocence with your superior nine year old knowledge."
A comfortable silence passed between the two cousins.
"So, where is your parabati?"
"You know I don't have one, Maria."
"Okay, then where is your other half, your "best friend", the mac to your cheese, your Edward Cullen-"
"Don't ever reference Twilight ever again like that," Skylar said with a scowl. She liked the novels as much as the next person, but she thought they were way overrated.
"Aiden is none of those things to me except the best friend part. And he is in Lisbon."
"Okay," Maria said mockingly. "Since you both left for New York, Jesse and I have been debating on how long it'll take for the two of you to hook up."
"It's not like that. He's-"
"He's too good for you, yadda, yadda. Cut the crap, Sky." Maria shook her head with frustration. "You've been saying that since you were fourteen, since Aiden started to flirt back. Everyone can see how much that boy cares about you, and you lead him on like a kicked puppy, I can see that." Maria turned her hazel gaze on Sky, referring to the Ravenscar's ability. "What's really your problem?"
Skylar was stunned by Maria's outburst. Maria with her slightly feminist politics was telling her everything that Skylar had been trying not to see since she was fourteen.
"Sticking up for Aiden now," Skylar joked weakly. "I thought you hated him."
"I can't hate him," Maria said with a smile. "He's too charismatic to hate…Don't change the subject."
Skylar sighed and looked over the cliff. The water below was black and the sounds of the waves crashing against the shoreline rung in her ears. She thought of Aiden and all his features that she knew so well. In the times she had let her walls down she had accidentally caught glimpses of Aiden's true emotions. They were always the same whenever he was with her. If it was in battle, it was concentrated focusing on the task at hand, but there was worry for her, as well as a mixture of pride to see the awkward little girl he knew since his own boyhood turn into a fine fighter. When it was the two of them, there was always a mixture of affection, but a deep pain in knowing he couldn't reach out to brush back her hair like he wanted to.
"Well, up until I was fourteen and decided that Aiden and I should give it a shot, his parents started hating me. We maintain good relations with the Monteverde family, of course, especially since my mom and dad were good friends with them, but now they don't like me as much." Skylar laughed bitterly. "Before they knew I liked Aiden, they encouraged our friendship, but things are different now. They want Aiden to go home and run the Institute in Lisbon and marry a good Portuguese Shadowhunter. Not me. In their words, I'm not good enough for him, and I think they may be right."
"And why not," demanded Maria.
"Look at what I'm doing to him," Skylar shot back, throwing her hands in the air with exasperation. "He deserves better than me. Better than someone who hurts him knowingly. He deserves a strong Shadowhunter girl, that I'm sure his parents know, who won't die before the age of twenty because of impatience, and who won't take him for granted."
There was silence as Skylar's words disappeared into the ocean. Maria finally let out a soft chuckle. "Stop being the tragic hero," she said, tossing her short bangs out of her eyes. "Really, you read way too many books and write too much fluff."
"If Aiden wanted order and dullness in his life, he'd do what his parents wanted. But he wants you and all the hardships that come with being around you"
"But his parents-"
"Stop caring about what other people want, Sky. If anything, your empathy will get you killed, not your impatience. Care about what you want for once."
Skylar fell silent; she did not look up and meet Maria's eyes. She kept her gaze on the water below, watching the rhythmic cadence of the waves.
"Am I really that difficult to be around," Skylar asked after a moment.
"Only when you're on your on your period or if someone eats the last of your ice cream."
Skylar laughed at Maria's light-hearted response, ever grateful for her cousin's optimism. She elbowed Maria's side gently. "Speaking of which, when is it your turn to find someone?"
"I'm bidding me time," Maria said as a flush rushed to her cheeks that Skylar could see. Skylar broke into a grin.
"You met him while in Idris, didn't you?"
"Yes, and his name is Bjorn, and he's twenty."
Skylar grinned widely. As she asked for Maria to elaborate, which Maria gladly did so, Skylar spaced out momentarily, knowing that she'd hear all about Bjorn on the way back to the Institute. Skylar thought of Aiden and Maria's words, knowing that when she got back to New York, things would change. It was one in the morning by Skylar, and quickly doing the calculations, Skylar know that it was 9 in the morning in Lisbon, with Aiden…
Cliffhangers are good! Well, the chapter actually got too long, so I decided that I would split it up into two chapters. Next chapter will feature Aiden and a return back to the Institute in New York...and...well, you'll just have to wait and see. :)
1. Does anyone know when Clockwork Prince comes out? If you have not read Clockwork Angel, do so! It is amazing!
2. I want to write a JemXoc one-shot, thoughts? Yay or nay?
Reviews, comments? Yes please.
Thanks for reading! Take care!